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Brian Laundrie's body was 'cleansed' of animals after he shot himself

Brian Laundrie's body was "cleaned" and eaten by wild animals before being discovered by law enforcement in a Florida swamp in October, a newly released autopsy report has revealed. (Author: Gardener)

Brian Laundrie'sBrian Laundrie's body was "eaten" and eaten by wild animals after the fugitive shot himself in the head before being discovered in a Florida swamp after a six-week manhunt, an autopsy report revealed on Monday. When officers finally found Gabby Petito's killer, almost all that remained were "apparent human skeletal remains, scattered on the filthy floor where they were visible." "At approximately 8:20 a.m. on October 20, 2021, search parties found a backpack and shoes identified as belonging to Brian Laundrie," reads the much-anticipated report, released months after the 23-year-old's body was found sprawling Carlton Reservation. In the report released by the Office of the Sarasota Medical Examiner, investigators found that Laundrie's "personal effects" — including a notebook in which Laundrie confessed to killing his fiancé as they traveled across the country in a van — "from surrounded by apparent human skeletal remains scattered on the dirt floor above." In addition to the notebook, several other items were recovered from a "drybag" near Laundrie's remains, which were found near his parents' home in North Port, including a wooden box with the diary and several photos. Both "the skeletal remains and personal belongings were clearly visible and scattered on the dirty floor," it said. The report confirmed that Laundrie died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head as police frantically searched for the man as the primary "person of interest" in 22-year-old Petito's disappearance. Authorities also recovered "the vast majority of [Laundrie's] skeleton," aside from a few bones from his teeth and face upon discovery of the remains, the filing goes on to say, adding that a toxicology report showed no signs of drug use before his death showed . The bomb document also revealed that authorities recovered a pair of green shorts, shoes, a ring, a backpack and a handgun from the remains of the devastated remains, partially obscured by "overgrown vegetation," the document said. Near Laundrie's body, at an adjacent "secondary" crime scene, authorities discovered animal skeletal remains that suggested the professed killer had been hunting before his death. Lawyers also found an incomplete, handwritten note on the "secondary" website, but did not provide details of its contents, as well as a "MOAB Coffee Roasters" hat owned by Laundrie, advertising the same Utah coffeeshop stopped by police for a became a domestic incident on August 12 - about two weeks before Petito's death. The search for Petito began after Laundrie returned from her trip without her to his parents' Florida home on September 1. On September 11, Gabby's family reported her missing and two days later her boyfriend Brian Laundrie disappeared from his parents' home. Chris and Roberta Laundrie, Laundrie's parents, were widely condemned for not speaking to Petito's family or turning their son over to the police when he returned home from his trip, particularly after she was reported missing. He left her home on September 13, two days after her family on Long Island reported her disappearance. Petito's family criticized the laundries for not helping them. Prior to Petito's disappearance, she and Laundrie were pulled over by a Utah police officer in Moab after visiting the "MOAB Coffee Roasters" on August 12, 2021, which was responding to a call from a witness who saw the couple enter a domestic dispute was involved. Last week, an independent investigator said the officers who stopped her should have been suspended for failing to quote Petito after the violent encounter in which she admitted being the attacker. Officers Eric Pratt and Daniel Robbins stopped the couple after responding to a call from a witness who saw the couple engaged in a domestic dispute. Bodycam footage showed a visibly shaken Petito admitting to being the aggressor in the public altercation. During the conversation, Pratt noted that Petito should have been arrested for her actions, as required by Utah state law. After the bodycam footage surfaced, the Price City Police Department launched its own independent investigation and said Wednesday that officers should have pressed charges into the incident. "I believe the officers were responding to a domestic violence call and probably had the reason that an act of domestic violence had been committed," Price police captain said of the relationship. As a result of the investigation, Ratcliffe recommended that Pratt and Robbins be placed on probation for their handling of the incident. "Would Gabby still be alive today if this case were handled differently?" the report reads, according to CNN. July 1: Gabby Petito and boyfriend Brian Laundrie leave Blue Point, New York, for a cross-country road trip. August 17: Laundrie reportedly flies back to Florida to clear out a storage unit to Utah to rejoin Gabby on her trip. August 24: Petito was last seen at a hotel in Salt Lake City with LaundrieAug. 25: Petito makes one last call to her mother, Nichole Schmidt, saying she's at Grand Teton National ParkAug. 25th or 26th: The couple chats for about 20 minutes with the owner of a store called "Rustic Row" in Victor, Utah. August 27: Video of Petito's van was captured by blogger Jenn Bethune at Spread Creek Campground around 6:30 p.m.; Witnesses say they saw a "riot" involving the pair at Tex-Mex restaurant Merry Piglets in Jackson, Wyoming on August 29: the day TikToker Miranda Baker of Wisconsin claimed she and her boyfriend were from Laundrie Approached in Grand Teton National Park and asked for a ride at 5:30 p.m. August. 30: Schmidt receives the last text message from Petito's phone: "No service in Yosemite" Sept. 1: Laundrie returns to his parents' home in North Port, Florida, in a van without PetitoSept. 11: Schmidt reports Petito missing to authorities in New York; Petito and Laundrie's van was seized by Florida police the same day in September. 13: Laundrie's solicitor says on October 5 his parents now "believe" that was the day they last saw him heading out for a hike in September. 14: Laundrie, through his lawyer, makes a statement about Petito's disappearance; Laundrie's parents claim on September 17 that Laundrie left his parents' house for a hike that day and has not seen from him since September 15: Laundrie is officially named a person of interest in Petito's case. 18: North Port Police and FBI begin search on Carlton Reservation in Sarasota County for missing Brian LaundrieSept. 19: Bethune realizes she has video of Petito's van at around 12:00 a.m. and 10 minutes later files the footage with the FBI. Officials say a body matching Petito's description was found near Grand Teton National Park in the afternoon of September. 21 Coroner confirms remains found in Grand Teton belong to Petito. 20–22: The FBI and North Port Police Department continue to search for Laundrie in the Carton Reserve. September 22: Neighbors say they saw the Laudrie family packing up their detached motorhome on the day Gabby was reported missing. Photos from DailyMail.com show the camper back in the driveway two days later on September 13 September 23: The FBI issues an arrest warrant for Laundrie for 'use of an unauthorized access device' for fraudulent use of a debit card from the Capitol One Bank, which wasn't he has to spend $1,000 between August 30 and September 1; An investigation is launched into the police handling of the August 12 Utah police incident; Laundrie's parents visit her attorney in Orlando September 25: Dog the Bounty Hunter joins the search for Laundrie September 26: A funeral is held for Petito in Holbrook, New York and her family starts a charity to help parents with the Search for missing children to help. Sept 27 Manhunt for laundry facility on Carlton reservation scaled back after 10 day search failed to find him. Dog the Bounty Hunter says Laundrie and his parents stayed at Fort De Soto Park from September 1-3 and September 6-8 - and that on the latter visit only the parents left on September 29: documents show that Laundrie's mother has canceled a reservation for the fort De Soto Park campsite for two from 1st to 3rd September and booked for three from 6th to 8th September; FBI Seizes Surveillance Footage From Site; FBI investigates leading laundrie who bought burner phone on September 14; September 30: Bodycam footage of a second officer at the August 12 incident is released and shows a distraught Petito admitting that Laundrie hit her; FBI agents gather more evidence from the Laundrie home. October 1: Laundrie's sister turns out to have been in touch with him after saying she did. October 2: A hiker along the Appalachian Trail claims to have seen Laundrie near the Tennessee-North Carolina border. 3: Investigators searched the Appalachian Trail area for signs that Laundrie had been there. October 4: Laundrie's sister told protesters outside her home that her family is ignoring her after she rebuked her story and that she doesn't know where she is Brother is October 5: Laundrie's sister appeared on Good Morning America to say that she has met her brother would report if she knew where he was; Oct. 7: Laundrie's father, Christopher, assists FBI agents in finding his son at the Carlton Reserve, but the search turns up no leads. Oct. 12: Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue announces autopsy results showing Petito died from strangulation; No exact date of death was given - just that she was dead 3-4 weeks before her body was found. October 16: Petito's parents are seen collecting her ashes from the Valley Mortuary in Jackson, Wyoming

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Row erupts as Boris Johnson is set to appoint Ally as civil service watchdog

The Prime Minister is expected to approve the appointment of former Vote Leave leader Gisela Stuart as the first Commissioner for Civil Services. (Author: Gardener)

Boris JohnsonA dispute broke out after it became known that the prominent Brexit activist Gisela Stuart should lead the official guard. Stuart, a former Labor MP and leader of the Vote Leave campaign, was chosen as Boris Johnson's preferred choice for the first civil servant commissioner in December. As well as appearing alongside Johnson during the 2016 referendum, Stuart urged voters to support the Prime Minister in the last general election. As head of the Civil Service Commission, Stuart will be responsible for making appointments to senior positions in Whitehall, overseeing the application of the Civil Service Code and hearing complaints from civil servants made under the Code. HuffPost UK has learned that Labor leader Keir Starmer has written to the Cabinet Office, "raising questions about its ability to provide independent, impartial and objective advice and oversight". In a letter to Steve Barclay, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Starmer said that while Stuart has had an "admirable career, she is a former elected politician and ran a national political campaign". "She has close political ties to the current government and has fought with many of them on important policy issues that are still relevant to the challenges facing ministries," he said. “That means there are questions about its ability to provide independent, impartial and objective advice and oversight. "Your appointment as First Commissioner for Civil Servants raises similar questions." Last Monday MPs on the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee questioned Stuart on her suitability for the role. Asked by Scottish Conservative MP David Mundell if she was confident of being perceived as impartial, Stuart replied: "They have clear processes. "You must be in a conflicted situation trying to support cabinet ministers and the civil service, but you have your own views on things," he said. Stuart replied: "It is quite possible, and I think desirable, that if you have a firm view of what should be done - whatever the means of doing it - when there are appointments, that is the public service function and the commissioner to test whether the individuals assigned a particular task have the skills to perform that task.” PACAC approved Stuart's appointment, despite having “reservations” about her suitability for the role and her perceived expressed impartiality. Alex Thomas of the Institute for Government said Stuart "appears to be the wrong appointment" for the role. "It's important to be seen as impartial," he said. "To be an ally or ideological associate of the Prime Minister is not. That's why Gisela Stuart looks like the wrong appointment.” Stuart's appointment is likely to prove more controversial amid the Partygate scandal, which exposed the close relationship between some Downing Street officials and civil servants. Simon Case, the head of civil service, was initially tasked with conducting the inquiry into suspected parties at Downing Street before being forced to back down after allegations he took part in an online quiz at the Cabinet Office in December 2020. A Labor source accused the Prime Minister of "making a joke about the system". "We've seen the Prime Minister ready to throw civil servants under the bus to save his own skin and now he's decided to appoint his campaign pal to uphold the Civil Servants Act - he's poking fun at the system." They told HuffPost UK. “Officials are hung out to dry by government ministers. A Cabinet Office spokesman said: "Baroness Stuart applied through an open and fair competition. "The Government believes that Baroness Stuart has the breadth of experience, qualities and independence of judgment required to lead the Civil Service Commission effectively."

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What the Eagles can learn from Super Bowl teams and why Russell Wilson isn't the answer

Both the Eagles and Bengals were 4-11-1 in 2020. Here's how the Eagles can use the Bengals' example to reach the Super Bowl. (Author: Gardener)

EaglesThe Super Bowl contenders demonstrated that there are two distinct ways to build a championship-level roster. Sure, the Rams, who beat the Bengals 23-20 on Sunday night, traded their 2016-2024 first-round picks for stars like cornerback Jalen Ramsey, quarterback Matthew Stafford and Rush linebacker Von Miller. And it appears the Bengals won their main stars -- quarterback Joe Burrow and wide receivers Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins -- in the draft. Their top players, defensive tackle Aaron Donald and Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp, along with several others, came this way. The Bengals also spent heavily on Trey Hendrickson, the free agent's defensive end, and on key players throughout secondary school. JUST MISSED: Former UD star Zach Kerr got so close to NFL playoff history in the Bengals' Super Bowl run. The Eagles did so during their 2017 Super Bowl season when they added free agents like wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, running back LeGarrette Blount and Chris Long on the defensive end while trading for Jay Ajayi. This contributed to a native core that included tight end Zach Ertz, offensive linemen Lane Johnson and Jason Kelce, and defensive linemen Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox. It's a combination of drafting the right players, signing the right free agents, and making the right trades. The Bengals did it and advanced to the Super Bowl in 2020 4-11-1. The Rams pulled it off and played in their second Super Bowl in four seasons. The Eagles, also 4-11-1 in 2020, didn't have the same success despite making the playoffs that season, where they lost to the Buccaneers in the wild card round. Here are three ways the Eagles can duplicate the Rams and Bengals' plan and reach the Super Bowl in 2022: It's not breaking news that the Eagles have to decide if Jalen Hurts is capable of leading them to the Super Bowl. Like Burrow, Hurts was drafted in 2020. Burrow was No. 1 overall while Hurts was picked in the second round, but even more so as a replacement for Carson Wentz, with the potential to take over in a couple of years. Wentz was benched late in the 2020 season and traded last February. Hurts, meanwhile, showed potential to propel the Eagles into the playoffs. Hurts completed just 61.3% of his passes, threw for 3,144 yards, and had a pedestrian rating of 87.2 passers. Burrow completed 70.4% of his passes, threw for 4,611 yards, and had a 108.3 rating. You can consider Hurts' 784 rushing yards, the most among NFL quarterbacks, and 10 TDs. That still doesn't compare to Burrow. Will Hurts become the franchise's QB if he can improve his completion percentage to 65% or more while still rushing for 800-1,000 yards? All signs point to the Eagles believing this can happen, or at least willing to give Hurts that chance in 2022. If they decide Hurts can't do this, they can try to do what the Rams did last offseason. The Rams traded 2016 No. 1 pick Jared Goff (Wentz was No. 2) and two first-round picks to the Lions for Matthew Stafford. Stafford threw for 4,886 yards and 41 TDs that season and naturally led the Rams with 1:25 remaining to the touchdown that won the Super Bowl. The Eagles have the trading capital with three first-round picks. You can certainly wrap up hurts and two of those first-rounders for someone like Seattle's Russell Wilson. Wilson, who is 33, threw for 3,113 yards in 14 games last season, or 31 fewer yards than he threw in 15 games for hurts. In this scenario, it's not worth giving up hurts and picks for Wilson, who may have hit his ceiling as a quarterback. Keep in mind that Hurts still has his rookie contract and counts $1.6 million against the cap. Wilson counts $37 million against the cap. Both the Rams and Bengals have better players around Stafford and Burrow. The Eagles need to add these players around Hurts. The Eagles have spent the last few seasons in salary cap purgatory, adding and retaining veterans and restructuring contracts. They are no longer financially tied to Wentz, who accounted for $34 million in dead money last season alone. That was one-sixth of the Eagles' 2021 salary cap. According to overthecap.com, the Eagles are $21 million below the projected 2022 salary cap, about mid-table for NFL teams. But they can create a lot of extra space by not re-signing defensive end Derek Barnett and if Brandon Brooks' retirement becomes official. All of this should allow the Eagles to sign at least two non-hitting agents. And if you look at both the Rams and the Bengals, wide receiver would be a great place to start. The Bengals put their two star receivers through the draft with Higgins in the first round in 2020 and Chase (NFL rookie record 1,455 yards) in the first round in 2021. The Rams have Kupp, who led the NFL in receptions (145), yards (1,947) and touchdowns (16) and Van Jefferson (802 yards), while Odell Beckham Jr. joined in the free hand. The Eagles have two legitimate receiving stars in 2021 in DeVonta Smith (916 yards) and Dallas Goedert (830 yards) in the first round. The Eagles need another go-to wide receiver as Jalen Reagor, their first-round pick of 2020, has been a disappointment so far. If the Eagles can add someone like that, Hurts will have as many targets to throw at as Stafford and Burrow. In addition to Donald and Kupp, key players like Jefferson, safeties Taylor Rapp and Nick Scott (7th round), cornerback David Long and linebacker Ernest Jones came through the draft. The Eagles will have as many as 10 picks this year, including five in the top 100. As of 2020, there are hurts and linebacker Davion Taylor (2020), who became a starter before suffering a season-ending knee injury. As the Bengals and Rams have shown, that could be all it takes to reach the Super Bowl. This article originally appeared in Delaware News Journal: 3 Things Eagles Can Learn from Rams, Bengals to Make Super Bowl Team

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West Ham 'plan summer talks with Bowen amid Liverpool interest'

Bowen has three and a half years left on his current contract but West Ham are keen to tie up his fortunes having started to compete in earnest for European top-flight places. (Author: Gardener)

BowenWest Ham United are reportedly ready to offer star striker Jarrod Bowen a new deal this summer in a bid to stave off Liverpool interest. Bowen, who joined West Ham from Hull City for £22million two years ago, has been in stunning form this season and has been one of the Premier League's most complete players in attack, with only Mohamed Salah contributing more goals than the Premier League's 16 goals striker and helps. West Ham United are keen to tie star striker Jarrod Bowen to a new deal at the club. According to the Evening Standard, his form has now caught Liverpool's attention and the East London club are ready to reward him and secure his long-term future with talks of a new offer this summer. Liverpool already have plenty of forwards to fall back on but with the futures of Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi in doubt they will be keen to maintain their attacking unit's capabilities. Bowen has three and a half years left on his current contract but West Ham are keen to tie up his fortunes having started to compete in earnest for European top-flight places. David Moyes wants to keep his star players including Bowen who has interested Liverpool. The report adds that midfielder Thomas Soucek is also another star ready for summer talks, while the Hammers have not given up convincing Declan Rice to stay on despite being turned down two contract offers this season. Former Premier League winner and Sportsmail columnist Micah Richards believes Bowen will be key if West Ham are to reach the top four. Ahead of the Hammers' trip to Leicester on Sunday, Richards said: "I think Bowen's form has been instrumental this season. Only Mohamed Salah has contributed to more than Bowen's 16 Premier League goals this season. To get into the Champions League you have to have at least one special player and Bowen is that player.' Part of the reason West Ham are only ready to start talks in the summer is that it remains unclear what European competition they could take part in next season, which is likely to play a key role in any new deal. West Ham are fourth and last in the Champions League but with the battle for fourth being very close they could still end the season with a Europa League spot, a Conference League spot or no European football break up.

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Who are Queen Elizabeth's children, where do they live and where do they stand in the line of succession?

Queen Elizabeth's children all hold prestigious titles and live in lavish royal residences (Author: Gardener)

Queen Elizabeth'sQueen Elizabeth's children - Prince Charles, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and Princess Anne with the Queen and Prince Philip Queen Elizabeth's children have taken on a more prominent role in royal life in recent months as they follow the sad death of Prince Philip last year supported . * Queen Elizabeth's children are among the most famous royals in the world, and with eight grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren, Her Majesty is the matriarch of a vast family. * While Prince Charles, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward have supported Her Majesty since the death of their father Prince Philip in April 2021, certain members of the Queen's brood have surrounded The Firm with scandals. * In other royal news, the Queen has been urged to change the line of succession to make Princess Anne the next monarch. Queen Elizabeth II is the longest reigning monarch in British history and was left devastated when the Duke of Edinburgh died at Windsor Castle in April 2021. Once described as their "strength and resilience," the Queen and Prince Philip were married for 73 years and had four children together. Prince Charles is the eldest of Queen Elizabeth's four children and the first of her three sons. The 95-year-old monarch welcomed Prince Charles to none other than Buckingham Palace on November 14, 1948. At the time of his birth, Her Majesty was still Princess Elizabeth and she ascended the throne when Charles was three years old. At this time, Prince Charles, as the sovereign's eldest son, became the heir apparent. He was also the first royal child to witness his mother being crowned monarch and attended the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey in 1953. Today, the Prince of Wales is first in the royal line of succession, followed by his eldest son, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. On July 29, 1981, Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer at St. Paul's Cathedral and the couple had two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. They sadly divorced in 1996 and Princess Diana tragically died a year later in Paris. The Prince of Wales later married Camilla Parker-Bowles, now Duchess of Cornwall, in a private ceremony in Windsor in 2005. Today, Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla split their time between their main London residence, Clarence House, and their country home, Highgrove House in Gloucestershire. Whilst Prince Charles also owns a stunning converted farmhouse in Wales, where he was reportedly planning to mourn the loss of Prince Philip privately after his funeral. Princess Anne, the only daughter among Queen Elizabeth's children, was born on August 15, 1950. Although Princess Anne was born third in line to the throne, she is now 16th in line to the throne, much further down than some royal fans might have expected. The Princess Royal began public engagements in 1969 at the age of 18 and made history when she became an Olympian and began her Olympic career in 1976, although sadly she never won a gold medal for Team GB. Princess Anne married her first husband and Olympian, Captain Mark Phillips, in November 1973. The couple had two children, Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall, and were married for 19 years before divorcing in 1992. The Princess Royal is now married to Sir Timothy Laurence and the couple live on the picturesque Gatcombe Park Estate in Gloucestershire. And they're not alone, as Zara and Mike Tindall also live on the estate, providing Princess Anne with wonderful opportunities to meet their three adorable children, Mia, Lena and baby Lucas. Just like his older brother Prince Charles, Prince Andrew was born at Buckingham Palace. The Queen and Prince Philip welcomed their third child on February 19, 1960 and Prince Andrew was the first child by a reigning monarch in 103 years. He is currently 9th in line to the throne, just ahead of younger brother Prince Edward. On July 23, 1986, Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson in Westminster Abbey and was created Duke of York by the Queen. The royal couple's first child, Princess Beatrice, was born at Portland Hospital on August 8, 1988, followed by her younger sister Princess Eugenie in 1990. Two years later, the same year Prince Charles and Princess Diana separated, it was announced that The Duke and Duchess of York were also to separate. However, despite their divorce, Prince Andrew and Sarah have remained close friends. In November 2019, Prince Andrew officially stepped down from his royal duties following the Jeffrey Epstein scandal. From January 2022, Prince Andrew will no longer have the right to hold an HRH title after the Queen confirmed his royal privileges, patronage and military honors would be returned to her. The Queen's decision followed news that Prince Andrew's request to have Virginia Giuffre's civil case against him dropped was dismissed by a US judge, meaning he will most likely face the trial. Virginia Giuffre claims she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew when she was just 17 by convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Today Prince Andrew and his former wife Sarah both live at the Royal Lodge in Windsor. Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex is the youngest child of Queen Elizabeth and is 13th in line to the throne, ahead of his sister Princess Anne. The Queen gave birth to Prince Edward again at Buckingham Palace in March 1964, leaving Princess Anne as the Queen's only child not born at this main royal residence. He met his future wife Sophie Rhys-Jones at a Real tennis event in 1993 and the couple announced their engagement six years later. They married at St George's Chapel in Windsor in 1999 and on the day of the wedding it was announced that the Queen had created him Earl of Wessex. The Earl and Countess have two children, Lady Louise who was born 8 November 2003 and could become Princess within months and James, Viscount Severn who was born 17 December 2007. Prince Charles is the eldest of the Queen's two children, who celebrated their 73rd birthday in November 2021. The second born of Queen Elizabeth's children, Princess Anne, turned 71 in August 2021. She and Prince Charles are closer in age than their younger siblings, who were born over a decade after the Queen had Charles, with Prince Andrew aged 61 and Prince Edward aged 57. In 2020, the royal family paid tribute to Princess Anne on her 70th birthday. The Royal Family's official social media accounts announced, "We share photos of The Princess Royal from every decade of Her Royal Highness' life leading up to her 70th birthday." They went on to share several throwback photos of The Princess Royal from significant moments in her life to share, including her marriage to Vice-Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence. All of Queen Elizabeth's children have official titles as children of the monarch. Queen Elizabeth announced her intention to make Charles Prince of Wales in 1958 when he was just nine years old. Princess Anne was given the title Princess Royal, a title customarily (but not automatically) bestowed on the eldest daughter of a British monarch in 1987. This rare title could be passed on to her great-niece Princess Charlotte in the future, although Princess Anne keeps it for life. The Queen's second son, Prince Andrew, is known as the Duke of York, a title he received from the Queen on his wedding anniversary in 1986. Meanwhile, Prince Edward is the only son of Queen Elizabeth who is an earl. It has been widely reported that Prince Edward will inherit the title of Duke of Edinburgh in the future following the death of Prince Philip. The Queen and Prince Philip had a difficult decision to make when deciding which royal surname to pass on to their children. Her Majesty's surname, Windsor, was adopted as the official surname of the royal family in 1917. When he married then-Princess Elizabeth, Philip was forced to adopt a new surname as part of his British citizenship. Eight years later the couple compromised and the Mountbatten-Windsor surname was born. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's daughter, Lilibet "Lili" Diana, is the latest member of the royal family to bear the iconic surname.

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The Love Life of Simon Cowell

We look back at the highs and lows of the X Factor creator's complicated love life - from failed engagements to estranged ex-girlfriends to his affair with Lauren... (Author: Gardener)

The Love Life of Simon CowellWe look back at the ups and downs of the X Factor creator's complicated love life - from failed engagements to falling out ex-girlfriends to his affair with Lauren... In 2011, model Paula, 60, one of the most famous faces of the 1980s She revealed that she lost her virginity to Simon. The star of the iconic Volkswagen Golf TV commercial of the decade said she was 16 at the time. She told Daily Mail Weekend magazine that she lost her virginity to "a boy named Simon". Paula and Simon were children's favorites growing up in Hertfordshire in the 1970s, she said. She also claimed, contrary to his Mr. Nasty picture on TV, that he was "very, very protective" and stopped teachers from slandering her. Simon was really important to me because he stopped them from picking on me.' Former model Jackie dated Simon in the 1970s and maintained a strong friendship with Simon — even after their split. It was reported back in 2012 that Sinitta flew home from Barbados early to avoid a showdown with Jackie after their famous fight in 2010. At the time of the original fight, Sinitta accused Jackie of leading "wicked lies" from Sinitta as an argument brewed over gossip about Simon and the status of his engagement to then-girlfriend Mezhgan Hussainy. Sinitta believed Jackie accused her of leaking stories about Simon and his Mezhgan. In 2020, Sinitta suggested that her on-off romance with Simon was "never really over" until he had son Eric with girlfriend Lauren in 2014. The couple had an on-off romance for 20 years after first meeting in the 1980s. When asked when she and Simon "finally ended" their love affair, the 58-year-old singer told New! Speaking about the unrest between her and Simon, she added, "[Lauren] and I were best friends. Sinitta said she had a long-held belief that they would eventually get together once Simon stopped dating other women, adding that she married him and "never" lost love for him. The couple also shared heartache as Sinitta admitted she was still very close to the mogul after revealing in 2013 that she was previously forced to abort her baby in the 1980s following health complications. It was previously reported that Cowell was secretly engaged to Page Three girl Louise Payne after splitting from husband and Right Said Fred star Fred Fairbrass. However, their three-year relationship ended when the buxom blonde said she wanted to start a family with Cowell but he was too busy. Cowell apparently asked the question to the now 43-year-old in an elevator during a business trip to New York, the Daily Star reported. The pair met at an event in London in 1995, following the end of Louise's marriage to guitarist Fred, now 68. They reportedly first exchanged numbers at the party Cowell was attending with his brother Nicholas. But during their first date, he caught the flu and thought he'd missed his chances. A year later, they met and began a romance. The source added, "The relationship has had its ups and downs. They broke up twice, but he was so in love with her that he kept trying to make it work. That was just before he started Pop Idol. Louise wanted children and he knew he wasn't ready yet. 'But he never stopped loving her. The X Factor judge had a casual fling with former model and dancer Georgina, who later opened up about their whirlwind romance. She said: "I met Simon at the Spearmint Rhino Club where I worked on occasion. That was before Pop Idol, so he wasn't famous. He's a lovely man and we had an easy relationship for about six months. Simon has been close friends with Ex Terri since their relationship from 2002 to 2008 and even threw a birthday party for their daughter Coco last year. While Terri and Simon were reportedly at odds over his desire not to have a brood, his situation is very different now that he admitted in 2017 that their children often share playdates. Terri and Simon were a couple for eight years before their split, and the music mogul is said to have given her a £6million "parting gift". In 2012, it was revealed that Simon felt "sincere love" for Dannii Minogue, 50, after an affair with the singer in 2007. The music mogul admitted he felt "like a schoolboy" around the Australian star during her time as a judge on the X Factor. Details of the romance were revealed in a book called The Intimate Life Of Simon Cowell written by former BBC journalist Tom Bower. There were several quotes from Cowell in the book that talked about the romance — although Dannii and Simon both denied it in 2008. Simon got engaged to Afghan-born makeup artist Mezhgan Hussainy in 2010, but they split in February 2012. The split only became public knowledge after Tom Bower published his unauthorized biography, Sweet Revenge: The Intimate Life Of Simon Cowell. The judge admitted in the book that he made a mistake in asking her to marry him: "We came to the conclusion that I was a hopeless friend." It was reported that he had given Hussainy a £5million mansion in Beverly Hills as compensation for the embarrassment of breaking off the engagement. In 2012, Simon confirmed he was dating former Baywatch star Carmen, 49, but she didn't get an invite to the star's annual Caribbean trip in January 2013 as he was doted on by his clique of exes. Carmen, who met Cowell when she was a judge at BGT, said she "adored" the X Factor supremo, but while he admitted they were dating, he was very clear about the status of their relationship. The music mogul told American Idol host Ryan Seacrest on his radio show, "She's not my girlfriend. We're dating people.” Simon proposed to his partner of eight in front of their son Eric, seven, and Lauren's son Adam, 16, from a previous relationship. A source said, "While Simon never thought he was the marriage type, he's realized he's met the woman of his dreams — and couldn't be happier." Simon met Lauren in 2013 when she was still dating multimillionaire real estate developer Andrew Silverman was married, with news of the affair making headlines around the world. Despite previously insisting he didn't "believe" in the marriage, the father-of-one reconsidered his views after falling for Lauren - who was "stunned" by the shock proposal. A source told The Sun: "Lauren was absolutely stunned and never in a million years would have expected Simon to ask the question. She burst into tears - tears of joy - and apparently said yes immediately. "Lauren has been Simon's rock over the last few years - supporting him when he broke his back and generally through thick and thin. "While Simon never thought he was the marriage type, he's realized he's met the woman of his dreams - and couldn't be happier.

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Companies Dragon's Den star Steven Bartlett has invested in

Steven is a Botswana-born, Plymouth-raised businessman who has built one of the most influential social media organizations in the world (Author: Gardener)

DenDragons Den's Steven Bartlett: All the companies the entrepreneur has invested in Steven is a Botswana-born, Plymouth-raised businessman who has built one of the most influential social media organizations in the world. Steven Bartlett grew up in Plymouth before landing a role on Dragons' Den. (PA) The highly anticipated BBC show Dragons Den is back on our screens as budding entrepreneurs have a chance to pitch their business ideas to five millionaires. And one of the new additions to the Den is Steven Bartlett. Steven is a Botswana-born businessman who, at the age of 21, built one of the most influential social media organizations in the world from the comfort of his university room, joining the BBC panel of respected investors on January 6th. Read more: Dragons' Den signs Steven Bartlett as Plymouth man becomes youngest-ever Dragon Ahead of his 23rd birthday, Steven's marketing firm The Social Chain went public and now has a current market valuation of over £300m. Since then, the young Plymouth-raised entrepreneur has traveled the world as a speaker, investor, author and content creator and has hosted Europe's most downloaded business podcast, The Diary of a CEO. The entrepreneur, who co-founded Social Chain in Manchester with Dominic McGregor, stepped down as Chief Executive in 2020 and has since aimed to invest in a variety of companies. His portfolio has also changed since he became the newest star of Dragons' Den earlier this month. BusinessLive has highlighted some of the companies Mr. Bartlett has invested in or founded since leaving Social Chain. Towards the end of 2021, Mr. Bartlett started a new business venture with a former Social Chain CEO. Bartlett has partnered with Oliver Yonchev to launch Flight Story, which they have described as "the world's first internal communications and talent platform." They added that the new entity will provide public companies with the "people, process and technology they need to build a resilient community of retail investors around their story." A software startup co-founded by new Dragons' Den star Steven Bartlett has secured a $5 million investment in recent months. The company provides developers with tools to create, launch, and manage Web3 projects without writing lines of code. A company backed by new Dragons' Den star and Social Chain co-founder Steven Bartlett was listed on a US stock exchange in June 2021. A marketing consultancy co-founded by Dragons' Den star Steven Bartlett recently acquired a PR agency whose clients include Tinder and Hinge. Flight Story, which launched towards the end of 2021 and was co-founded by Oliver Yonchev, snapped up London-based R. Steven Bartlett made an artisan cheesemonger his first investment in Dragons' Den. The multimillionaire entrepreneur, who co-founded Social Chain in Manchester alongside Dominic McGregor, bought a 5 per cent stake in London-based Cheesegeek for £150,000. The investment was featured on Thursday 6 January as part of the first episode of the hit BBC One show. Dragons' Den star Steven Bartlett has invested £50,000 in a company that sells real grass soil-free toilets for dogs. The entrepreneur secured a 20 per cent stake in Piddle Patch after winning three competing offers from his fellow dragons in the second episode of this year's BBC One series. The company was founded by Rebecca Sloan and is based in London. The private equity investment vehicle specializes in venture capital deals and backs companies that "strive to make the future better for everyone, everywhere." Current investments include companies in consumer technology, AI, biotechnology, space and social media. In December 2020, Mr. Bartlett became an investor and joined the board of substitute food company Huel. In early 2021, the entrepreneur said: "I've been a Huel customer for four years and soon after fell in love with the brand, its mission and Julian's vision." Huel isn't just a leader in its category, it's a rare, great British one Success story – one with overwhelming potential. "I bring to the board nearly 10 years of experience leading one of the most progressive social media companies in the world and working with many of the world's largest consumer brands." Stay up to date with the latest news and events in your area with FREE PlymouthLive newsletters - enter your email address at the top of the page or click here.

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Ivan Gazidis on why AC Milan's new stadium will 'change' Italian football

In an exclusive interview, the AC Milan CEO explains how new stadiums can "revive" Serie A. (Author: Gardener)

Ivan GazidisAC Milan's 'transformative' new stadium may be the catalyst for Italian football to close the gap with the 'Super League' English Premier League. So says Milan CEO Ivan Gazidis, who tells me in an exclusive interview how the ambitious project can ignite the "revitalization" of Serie A. The stadium, shared with city rivals Inter, will become the legendary - but 96-year-old - San Siro. The project will reportedly cost between €900m and €950m ($1bn) and will be funded 100 per cent by the two clubs. According to Gazidis, the clubs have worked "responsibly and accommodatingly" with Milan City Council and the Mayor to get approval for the new stadium. "We know this is necessary for the club," he tells me. "We've known over the past three years of working on this project that it has to happen if the club is to have the future its fans want. And I would say that the City of Milan wants both of its clubs to have that." Many believe that the lack of investment in stadiums is holding back Italian football. More than 90 percent of professional football stadiums in Italy are publicly owned. As of 2010 153 new stadiums were built in Europe by 2020. Only 1 percent of the total investment was made in Italy. Gazidis believes the new stadium will allow AC Milan and Inter to compete for the Scudetto championship more regularly, while Inter are the current champions Turin giants Juventus won nine consecutive titles before last season."It is fundamental for the two football clubs Milan and Inter on their way back to the top of European football. And for Italian football, it's actually fundamental because we're coming out of a decade dominated by Juventus. "New stadium," says Gazidis. "It's not healthy for a league that needs to increase its global appeal." Gazidis has seen firsthand the impact a new stadium can have. As a member of Major League Soccer's founding management team, he promoted investment in soccer-specific stadiums. Since then, 25 stadiums have been built or renovated for MLS clubs. Milan's stadium is set to be completed in time for the 2026/7 season and Gazidis is convinced other Italian clubs will follow suit and build or refurbish their own. "And that will revitalize Italian football," he says. And I think one of the sad things over the past few decades has been the slow and steady decline of Italian football compared to the other European leagues. If we don't build stadiums in Italy, we know what the future will be like. And the legacy they will have is a league that continues to be in a long, slow and steady decline. This is not a responsible future that can be passed on to the next generation. "I don't think that's the future of Italian football. I think Italian football is absolutely ready for a revival." This recovery is needed to close the financial gap between Serie A clubs and those in the Premier League. From 2017 to 2019, the Premier League generated three times more stadium revenue than Serie A and its transfer deal is by far the most lucrative of the 'Big Five' European leagues. At Expo 2020 Dubai last week, Gazidis, who was previously CEO at Arsenal, warned that without financial controls, the gap between the wealthiest clubs and the rest would widen. "It's a problem throughout European football. The gap isn't closing, it's widening," he tells me. “We've seen some of the smaller nations with great teams suffer badly because their domestic market isn't big enough to support the kind of increase in spending that this new (broadcast) revenue is enabling. Big clubs like Celtic or Rangers or Ajax in smaller media markets are struggling to keep up and finding very creative ways to do it. The rest of Europe must find ways to assert itself and compete head-to-toe with the Premier League. "I don't think it's healthy that Juventus would dominate Serie A for a decade or more, we see that trend in France, we see it in Germany too. AC Milan was one of the 12 teams that competed in the Signed up for the breakaway Super League for European clubs in April, which Gazidis described as an "exciting new chapter". While the stadium is set to deliver a "dramatic" increase in revenue, AC Milan have been working hard to improve commercial revenues In the past two years, the club has acquired 25 new sponsorship partners and, despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, has increased revenues by around 92 million euros ($104.4 million), halving that for the 2020/2021 financial year The club lost from minus €194.6m in 19/20 to minus €96.4m Milan were second last season, their first top four result since 2013. The club's last Scudetto was two years earlier right On Friday, French left-back Theo Hernández extended his contract with the club until 2026. Signed from Real Madrid in 2019, the 24-year-old is an example of AC Milan's strategy of buying young players with great potential. "Theo is a great example of someone we think is world-class talent that we brought in and developed with us. So he has grown with us,” says Gazidis. "And the basis for that is young players who develop into world-class talent with Milan, who then raise the level of the team, which in turn increases our revenue, which allows us to invest more in the team to be able to keep it." Gazidis , who underwent intensive treatment after being diagnosed with throat cancer in July, says the new stadium can prepare Milan for a bright future. It's already happened," he says. And I'm very confident that we will give the clubs, the city and the next generation something to make them proud to be Milanese."

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14 iconic romantic LGBTQ+ movies to watch this Valentine's Day

If you can't choose a movie this Valentine's Day, we have 14 LGBTQ+ romantic classics for you. (Author: Gardener)

ValentineFor a long time, the only romantic movies LGBTQ+ people could watch on Valentine's Day revolved around the straight. This isn't a shade on the straight romance genre, we're suckers for all the sloppy love stories starring J-Lo, Reese Witherspoon and Julia Roberts, and - fact time! - The number "I Say a Little Prayer For You" in "My Best Friend's Wedding" is one of the greatest scenes in cinema history. (Forever and ever...) But finally, after all these years, the queer community has a whole library of LGBTQ+ romances to choose from, from Ang Lee's groundbreaking Brokeback Mountain to Céline Sciamma's wistful historical drama Portrait of a Lady on Fire. If you can't choose a movie to watch this gay Valentine's Day, we have 14 romantic - and sometimes heartbreaking - classics for you. After meeting at a gay bar, French teenager Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) falls in love with a blue-haired art student named Emma (Léa Seydoux). The romantic drama follows their relationship from Adèle's high school years to her adult life as a school teacher. Based on Jul Maroh's 2010 graphic novel of the same name, Blue is the Warmest Color received critical acclaim and was nominated at both the Golden Globe Awards and the BAFTAs. It also won the Palme d'Or from the official jury and the FIPRESCI award, becoming the first film in history to win the Palme d'Or for both the director and the leading actresses. Ang Lee's acclaimed same-sex romance Brokeback Mountain stars Jake Gyllenhaal and the late Heath Ledger as Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist, cowboy lovers in the American West in the 1960s. The film became a critical and commercial success when it was released in 2005, winning three Academy Awards including Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, with other Actor nominations for Ledger, Gyllenhaal and Williams. The film memorably lost best picture to Paul Haggis' drama Crash, widely regarded as one of the worst decisions in Oscars history. Nonetheless, Brokeback Mountain is widely regarded as a turning point in the advancement of LGBTQ+ stories in mainstream cinema. In just five years, Call Me By Your Name has grown into one of the most popular gay romances of all time. The themes of first love and heartbreak, as well as the dreamy and idyllic world created by director Luca Guadagnino, evoked such a strong and passionate emotion in viewers around the world. Based on the 2007 novel of the same name by André Aciman, the film is set in northern Italy in 1983 and chronicles the budding relationship between 17-year-old Elio Perlman (Timothee Chalamet) and 24-year-old Oliver (Armie Harmer)-old research assistant by Elio's father (Michael Stuhlbarg). Call Me By Your Name has received numerous awards, including four nominations at the Academy Awards, where it won for Best Adapted Screenplay. Carol stars as 1950s Cate Blanchett as an elderly woman surviving a difficult divorce and embarking on a forbidden affair with an aspiring photographer (Rooney Mara). Watching the impact of homophobia and a jealous ex-husband-to-be on their relationship is heartbreaking, and last but not least the sheer melodrama of it all will leave you in a state of melancholy. After making audiences weep for most of the film with its beautiful portrayal of queer heartbreak, wistful cinematography, and haunting soundtrack, the final shot signals that there is still hope for the title character's romance and helps set the imagination in motion Questioning that all queer stories end in tragedy. Set in the Yorkshire Highlands, this same-sex British romance drama tells the story of sheep farmer Johnny (Josh O'Connor) whose life changes with the arrival of Romanian migrant Gheorghe (Alec Secăreanu). God's Own Country has received almost universal acclaim (and currently holds a 99% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes), with praise for its direction by Francis Lee (on his directorial debut) and performances by O'Connor and Secăreanu, and is a must-read - see for lovers of queer cinema. The rom-com directed by Clea DuVall was released in 2020 to critical acclaim. It follows the story of Abby (Kristen Stewart) and Harper (Mackenzie Davis), a lesbian couple who attend the latter's annual Christmas celebrations. Yes, we know it's a Christmas movie, but we just couldn't leave Happiest Season off this list — especially when Abby and Harper have become two of the most championed queer female characters in recent history. Imagine Me & You originally received mixed reviews upon release - for some absurd reason - but in recent years Rachel and Luce have been cited as two of the most iconic lesbians in film. Indian romantic drama film Loev explores the relationship between Wall Street dealmaker Jai (Shiv Pandit) and Mumbai-based music producer Sahil (Dhruv Ganesh), two friends with complicated pasts who headed to the Western Ghats for a weekend. Loev, pronounced "love", received unanimous praise from critics for his portrayal of same-sex love in India - and won the Audience Award for Best Feature Film at the Tel Aviv International Film Festival 2016. Marketed as the first major romantic studio comedy with two gay leads and one same-sex love story, Love, Simon was a momentous achievement in the history of queer cinema. Not only was it the first time that LGBTQ+ people found themselves properly represented in this mainstream genre, it proved that yes, queer stories can be profitable too, and debunked any myths that had previously suggested otherwise. The film The Homo Sapien Agenda follows Simon Spier (Nick Robinson), a withdrawn gay high school student struggling to reconcile his friends and family, and the blackmailer who threatens to come out on him to the entire school. This groundbreaking coming-of-age queer story that follows the life of disenfranchised African American Chiron (Trevante Rhodes) and takes viewers through three pivotal chapters in his life. Little follows a nine-year-old Chiron who grows up with a drug-addicted mother in a rough Miami neighborhood; Chiron depicts his uncomfortable and painful teenage years, including bullying he experienced at school; and finally Black, which shows his development as a grown man and the internalization of his sexuality. Set in late 18th-century France, Portrait of a Lady on Fire tells the story of a forbidden love affair between Héloïse (Adèle Haenel), an aristocrat, and Marianne (Noemie Merlant), an artist commissioned to paint her portrait. The historical drama made history when it screened at the Cannes Film Festival, with Celine Sciamma becoming the first director ever to win the coveted Queer Palm Award. It received further nominations at the Critics' Choice Awards and the Golden Globe Awards, and was named the second-highest-rated film on Rotten Tomatoes in 2019. Tensions rise when Kena (Samantha Mugatsia) and Ziki (Sheila Munyiva) begin a same-sex affair and are forced to hide their affection from the Kenyan locals. In this film, however, the fictional on-screen discrimination glared at the reality faced by queer people in Kenya, when the Kenya Film Classification Board banned its release for its "gay theme". Director Wanuri Kahiu sued the Kenyan government to release the film so that it could be entered as the country's entry for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. The ban was lifted for seven days and resulted in sold-out cinemas, making it the second-highest-grossing Kenyan film of all time. This emotional documentary follows the 65-year secret relationship between baseball star Terry Donahue and her partner Pat Henschel, and the challenges they face later in life. It's reminiscent of how Terry and Pat first met while working in Chicago, when they came out to their conservative families and were debating whether or not to marry. Before working on HBO's queer series Looking, director Andrew Haigh directed British romance drama Weekend, which saw two men (Cullen, New) meet and spend the weekend before one of them leaving the country having a short, but sweet sexual relationship begin. The film received universal acclaim upon its 2011 release, primarily for its realistic and documentary portrayal of a same-sex relationship and for its queer romance, which was largely unaffected by the ever-present threat of homophobia or outside judgement.

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That suggests someone, somewhere, knows what they're doing...

'I didn't think NUFC would win three games all season let alone three in three games' - Newcastle 1 Aston Villa 0. (Author: Gardener)

The independent voice of Newcastle United since 1988 That suggests someone, somewhere, knows what they're doing… The game against Everton was a turning point for me. Going to the midweek game I thought United were probably going to lose. I don't watch much football outside of NUFC, so I just assumed that the quality of their players, the Blues squad, I thought it was all too much for NUFC. Having never seen Everton play this season, I made too many assumptions that a team that should be good is good. That taught me a lesson that I took with me to Sunday's game. Having only watched Aston Villa away against the Toon this season and now both teams are completely different, I made no assumptions that Coutinho would score against us like he always does. That Ings and Watkins would be a handful and cripple our defenses. This young Jacob Ramsey would be the new Steven Gerrard, a great player with a terrible haircut. For the rest of the season I won't be taking anything, just giving back what I know. And one thing I do know is that Eddie Howe is finally getting his rewards for the hard work that he has put in. Fair enough it helps when you spend £90m on five players. It helps if you have a bit of luck as all NUFC were the better team against Leeds and Villa, the goal that won the game on both occasions shouldn't have come. The rest is that Eddie Howe was focused on beating NUFC hard. It has taken time to bear fruit, there have been too many frustrating draws in his tenure so far, but now things are starting to fall into place for him. Partly because I stopped assuming that every other team is better than us. Partly because both teams played 4-3-3 and I could see the formation on the field as the teams lined up for the first few minutes. Two organized teams played at SJP. To put it politely, both teams neutralized each other. Honestly, if they kicked the ball with the same force they kicked each other, it would have been a great game. Writing a match report on this match is like writing a match report on a boxing match that lasts twelve rounds, one boxer wins on points because they landed a punch and the rest of the time the two just stood there and held on as the referee tore them apart. Villa came up with that tactic so I blame them. However, I'm aware that NUFC can dish it out a bit. I hope that I can look forward to a time in the summer when our players don't have that anymore either. The impact of the physical nature of this game could be as long lasting as the three valuable points. Schar went down early with a head injury that would normally have resulted in him sliding down the tunnel and not resurfacing for several weeks. In addition to the organization, Eddie Howe undoubtedly brought some courage with him. Manquillo and Trippier are both gone and as things stand only the news about Trippier is bad. Eddie Howe said that Trippier's foot was "stomped on". From where I was, it looked like Manquillo did too. We now know that Trippier will be missing a part of his foot that we only recently discovered exists. Like the dislocated shoulder that has plagued Steven Taylor for so long, or the nearly broken index finger that Marcelino endured with so much courage two decades ago. Trippier will be sorely missed. He was first class again on Sunday. After getting rid of our best player (Trippier, not Manquillo) and having Maxi constantly booted, maybe unplayable, definitely kickable, you'd think Villa would have the upper hand, but when they did, they didn't get the best of it. They had a lot of possession, pushed United back and let them chase like terriers (ten of them anyway) but that was all. Another thing Eddie Howe brought to the table was the stellar cast, which SBR would call the "blue chip brigade." Whatever else they are, Shelvey, JoeLinton, Fraser and Wood never stop running now. The other reason it didn't work out for Villa was that they only created one scoring opportunity. It doesn't matter how much your defensive plan works and how long you spend countering the opponent if you forget to play your own game, when you have the ball it counts for nothing. Villa knew they weren't going to get that after the 36th minute. Only they know what they have been up to in the last hour. The first half was restrained, like the game against Everton, like most games when NUFC defend the gallowgate in the first half. Chris Wood confirmed he's not a natural finisher by shooting a 22-yarder high, wide and hopeless. Whatever they're working on in training, they might want to work on his feet. Dito Willock, whose High, Wide and Hopeless looked more like a lack of confidence than technique. Elsewhere, no one looked ready to attempt a shot, although there was no lack of effort. Villa were equally dedicated and lacking in creativity. It was obvious that they have a lot of good players and they were ready for it. "It" means a junk rather than a game. Gerrard was always a bit like that at SJP too. The only real talking point of the first half was discussed for a while! When Willock burst through and stumbled on the edge of the box referee Pawson had a terrible shot of play, pointing to the spot. An endless VAR check ensued, during which we debated whether it was a) a handball from ASM under construction b) a dive c) a red card or d) outside the box. They decided it was a free kick from the edge of the box and nothing else. Kieran Trippier lined up to retrieve it, fresh from his exploits against Little Arms during the week. The ball was much closer to the goal and looked ready to shoot. Even from the Gallowgate, Buendia's position looked silly in a sort of Atlas crouch on the side of the wall, his ill-advised deflection taking the ball from Martinez in Villa's goal and into the net. It was a great moment in the goal game. It was the only goal. It was also one of many long stoppages that ruined the flow, along with hundreds of short stoppages caused by everyone on the court eager to foul and a referee who couldn't know what a foul was and what not and when to play and when not to. The interruptions were extremely frustrating, until they turned out to be dissatisfying opponents. The second half started as the first had ended, with a NUFC injury and a stoppage. Villa took control, they were neat and concise but not threatening. Except once, Watkins tapped the back post to equalize until VAR indicated his toenail was offside. Aside from that, Cash drilled one over the goal, Buendia not having such a good day and Villa played nice triangles all over the pitch to create the space that couldn't be picked up. NUFC didn't do anything, mainly because they didn't have to. Another pot of gold Eddie Howe painted on his players. A bit of ASM trickery, some decent corners in burn, otherwise NUFC just viewed the game in a nail-biting but professional way that suggests someone, somewhere, knows what they're doing. The staff has something to do with that. Not only Howe, but also Trippier, Burn and to a lesser extent Wood brought more than homemade quiche to the party. Burn is massive and strong, but other than that he looks calm and solid and didn't make a single mistake in his debut. With Trippier in the back four, that's the half that doesn't reveal anything. No doubt he's used to scoring 1-0 wins with his back against the wall. More than he's used to scoring when he's playing for a free-scoring team. That fits the NUFC model for now. Wood works hard, runs hard and looks like he's scoring seven goals a season. He played his part in the 1-0 win. The team will look for better next season and beyond. At the moment he is an important team player. Others stepped on the plate and that was also crucial. We've always felt that some of the players who can play play in a non-pressure environment. The midfield and wingers are all working hard now, no more so than Ryan Fraser who ran and ran against Villa. Shelvey never found a hard-working, low-possession role to enjoy, but he never stopped running on weekends. I thought he was United's best midfielder, ahead of Willock, who put in another improved shift and won the penalty/free-kick that resulted in the goal. Even in front of JL, the new darling of SJP. I can't see goals in his game, I can't see much threat, I can't see £40m footballer. He gives everything, he is a strong presence in midfield that has contributed to three straight wins. Like Wood, that's enough for now where we are. Steven Gerrard summed it up pretty well for Villa, who should be extremely disappointed that her apparent talent has been contained so well across the United team: "Sometimes you perform at a level where you make your own luck, but our level was not nearly as high today so we got what we deserved from this game. I don't think Newcastle have ever had to play that well to beat us – that's a huge frustration too.” Chin, Chin Steven, you were better than Everton. Eddie Howe was just as honest in his assessment of a dismal game that ended in glorious victory, Consistency is perhaps the hardest thing in football consistently: “I don't think where we've played they've had fluid football performances from back to front and all the things that we might want to do in the future, but it was very disciplined, hardworking, lots of energy, lots of teamwork, team spirit and togetherness that made the difference for us. A big compliment to everyone for that, because that's sometimes the hardest thing to deliver consistently.” Winning is usually the hardest thing in football. There was a time in the second half of 2021 when I didn't think NUFC would win three games all season, let alone three in three games. Where Newcastle United want to be can wait. Where they are now is a lot better than it was a month ago. Big compliments to yourself for that, Eddie Howe. If you want to appear in The Mag, send your article to [email protected] Newcastle and Sunderland - This means things between them will never be the same again. This 13-year-old Steve Bruce stat makes me laugh according to Newcastle team vs Aston Villa with three substitutions predicted for Eddie Howe They may also be danger at the turnstiles for Newcastle fans but no danger of giving up that lead at Leeds 3 Kids together for the first time in 10 years at St James Park - you know what happens next... 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